MAKE IT OR BREAK IT TIME
The beast known as the National Football League is ramping up for its regular season and so are the Seattle Seahawks, who beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-13 in their exhibition opener at Lumen Field in Seattle on Thursday night.
There is a real irony in pre-season football both south and north of the border. Most fans and media members will downplay the importance of pre-season games, looking at them as a necessary evil until the season starts. After all, the Seahawks only played five starters against the Vikings and they were all gone by halftime.
Yet each of these games are like the Super Bowl for players trying to earn a spot on the squad – or at least get enough good tape for another team to be interested in their services should things not work out with their current team.
For some, these exhibition games may be the last time they ever step onto the football field. For others, it’s the launching point for a solid career.
Either way, try not telling these players that exhibition games ‘aren’t important’ – it could be the difference between joining the family business or continuing to play a game that they love at the highest level.
SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE
You have to feel for the Edmonton Elks. Up 22-0 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday night, the Elks saw the Bombers rally for a 38-29 win and, in the process, the Elks home losing streak was extended to 22 games.
It was a classic case of a veteran team that has been in some big games versus a young inexperienced team that is learning what it takes to win. Football games are decided over the course of 60 minutes – not 15, 35 or 42 minutes. The Bombers just keep grinding away while it looked like the Elks were just trying to hang on.
A telling sign for me was Elks quarterback Tre Ford running the length of the field in jubilation after a 53-yard strike early in the third quarter to Dylan Mitchell which gave the Elks a first-and-ten at the Bomber 22. Ford was acting like they just won the game.
The very next play, running back Kevin Brown fumbled the ball and the Bombers marched the field to score a touchdown to cut the deficit to 22-17. Every successful coach will talk about how having an even keel approach throughout the game is essential. Ford and the Elks got caught up in the emotion of their start and forgot that there was still a lot of football to be played.
Once they learn to finish, they’ll learn to win…and that’s coming.
LIONS LOOK TO REBOUND
After a 50-14 drubbing in Winnipeg last Thursday, the Lions look to get back on track when the Calgary Stampeders visit BC Place Stadium this Saturday.
The Leos will welcome back quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. after a two-game absence due to a knee injury. Head Coach Rick Campbell says that the Leos will not be limited in what they can do offensively with ‘Big Play V-A’ although one wonders what type of mobility Adams Jr. will have after coming off the injury.
Adams Jr. will be without the services of wide receiver Dominique Rhymes, who is now on the six-game injured list with a foot injury that has been troubling him all season long. The hope is that some extended rest will get Rhymes back to 100%.
It will be interesting to see how the Lions handle the Stamps running attack, which should be bolstered by the return of Ka’Deem Carey. Carey was a full participant in practice this week and is expected to play. The CFL’s leading rusher a year ago with 1,088 yards along the ground, Carey has been out of the lineup since being injured in the season-opener against the Lions.
DIDN’T YOU GET THE MEMO?
On Aug. 1 – MLB trade deadline day – the Seattle Mariners were 55-52 and 3.5 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays for the final wildcard spot. What made that wildcard spot look even more distant was that there were three teams ahead of them in that race – Boston, Los Angeles and New York.
Looking at the big picture, the Mariners went into sell mode – trading closer Paul Sewald to Arizona while also shipping outfielder A.J. Pollock to San Francisco and DFA’ing infielder Kolton Wong. It was a total vote of no-confidence in the team by Mariners management yet someone forgot to tell the Mariners players. After losing to Boston 6-4 on August 1st, the M’s have reeled off seven straight wins to creep within 1.5 games of the Blue Jays – passing the Red Sox, Angels and Yankees in the process.
You have to give this team credit. Their own management group didn’t believe they have what it takes to make a push but they have fought through it all to be contenders down the stretch. It appears that trading Sewald may have galvanized the M’s for the stretch run – and that could make them dangerous.
PRAYERS FOR HAWAII
As you’ve probably seen in the news, wildfires in the state of Hawaii have caused the loss of life and incomprehensible property damage. I had the opportunity to visit Maui for the first-time last year and fell in love with the city of Lahaina and the charm of its historic Front Street. Now that’s all gone.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of those impacted.
Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.